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Tokyo, Japan

PRIME MINISTER ABE:  (As interpreted.)  So, welcome back to Japan, following the first visit that you made last year.  And I’m so thrilled to personally welcome you here.

My conviction is that our alliance between Japan and the United States has become more robust and more unwavering than ever.  So now we enjoy this strong bond under a very robust alliance between the two states.  So we stand ready to address various challenges of the international community, including the issue of North Korea.

So as I said, I would like to focus on the issue of North Korea, but also, I would like to cover challenges that we both face in the Asia region.  And also, I’m firmly convinced that, through your visit to Japan this time, we will achieve further closer cooperation between the two sides in various areas, including diplomatic policy, political cooperation, security cooperation, as well as economic cooperation.  And so we certainly look forward to making our relationship closer and closer.

VICE PRESIDENT PENCE:  Well, thank you, Prime Minister Abe, for your kind words and your warm welcome back to Japan.  I spoke to your great friend last night, upon our arrival, and he asked me to extend to you his best regards and his gratitude for the strong partnership that has only grown stronger with you as Prime Minister of Japan and with President Donald Trump leading the United States of America.

As we said the last time I visited Japan, the United States of America understands that the alliance between our countries is the cornerstone of peace and prosperity and security in the Indo-Pacific.

I look very much forward to speaking about opportunities that we have to strengthen the ties between our two countries, economically and culturally.  But also, I look forward to hearing your perspective and sharing ours about confronting the menace and threats from the regime in North Korea.

Mr. Prime Minister, I say to you and I say to all the people of Japan: On behalf of President Trump, the United States is with you in this challenge, and we will continue to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the people of Japan, the people of South Korea, and our allies and partners across the region until we achieve the global objective of the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, and we end the provocations and threats that North Korea has presented to this region and to the wider world.

So, Mr. Prime Minister, thank you again for your hospitality, for your friendship.  I look forward to our discussions today, as well as to a banquet this evening.

And later this week, I expect my wife and I will be cheering for a different team at the Olympics — (laughter) — but I expect we’ll be agreeing on just about everything else.  So, thank you.  And I look forward to our discussion.